CFR Cluj v Slavia Praha facts
CFR Cluj and Slavia Praha are both out to end a long wait to appear in the UEFA Champions League group stage as they meet in the first leg of their play-off tie.
• While the most recent of CFR’s three group appearances came in 2012/13, Slavia have not featured since making their debut in 2007/08 but are looking to build on an impressive UEFA Europa League campaign last season.
• Although this is the teams’ first competitive fixture, Slavia did beat CFR 4-2 in a friendly in Austria in July 2010.
• CFR claimed their fifth Romanian league title – and second in succession – in 2018/19, all five triumphs having come since 2008.
• This is CFR’s fifth UEFA Champions League campaign, and ninth season in UEFA competition overall. They reached the group stage in 2008/09, 2010/11 – gaining direct access in both cases – and 2012/13, when they came through two qualifying rounds.
• The Romanian club lost to Malmö in the second qualifying round of last season’s UEFA Champions League (0-1 h, 1-1 a) and got no further than the UEFA Europa League play-offs, where they were beaten away (0-2) and home (2-3) by Dudelange of Luxembourg.
• A 1-0 loss at Astana in this season’s first qualifying round first leg made it three successive European defeats for CFR, and just three wins in 13 European matches (D2 L8), but they turned that tie round with a 3-1 home success and went on to beat Maccabi Tel-Aviv 3-2 on aggregate in the second qualifying round (1-0 h, 2-2 a). Dan Petrescu’s side then produced a memorable 4-3 second-leg victory away to Celtic to win their third qualifying round tie 5-4 on aggregate.
• CFR’s record in four UEFA matches against Czech clubs is W2 L2, both wins coming against Slovan Liberec in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round (1-0 h, 2-1 a). Their sole other home fixture, in November 2009, ended in a 3-2 loss to Sparta Praha in the UEFA Europa League group stage, the away fixture having also ended in defeat (0-2).
• CFR’s sole previous UEFA Champions League play-off was a 3-1 aggregate victory against Basel in 2012/13 (2-1 a, 1-0 h).
• Champions of the Czech Republic for the second time in three years last season – their 18th domestic title – and also Czech Cup winners to claim their first double in the Czech Republic, Slavia are aiming to successfully negotiate the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds for only the second time. Since their sole previous group appearance 12 years ago – when they finished third in their section behind Arsenal and Sevilla – the Prague club have lost in the preliminary rounds four times.
• Twelve months ago Slavia were beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Dynamo Kyiv in the third qualifying round (1-1 h, 0-2 a). Moving into the UEFA Europa League group stage, Jindřich Trpišovský’s side finished second behind Zenit in their section and went on to get the better of Genk and Sevilla in the knockout rounds before losing 5-3 to eventual champions Chelsea over two games (0-1 h, 3-4 a) in the quarter-finals.
• Slavia’s four defeats in UEFA Champions League qualifying ties since 2007/08 include their sole previous play-off – against APOEL in 2017/18 (0-2 a, 0-0 h).
• This is Slavia’s first European match of the season. They have won only one of their last 15 matches in the UEFA Champions League (D7 L7).
• Slavia are unbeaten in their six matches with Romanian clubs (W2 D4), although the last three have ended in draws, including home (0-0) and away (1-1) against Vaslui in the most recent encounters, in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup first round – a tie Slavia won on away goals. All three of the Prague club’s games in Romania have finished 1-1.
• Slavia’s only UEFA Champions League group campaign featured a 2-1 home win and 1-1 away draw against Steaua Bucureşti.
• Slavia are already the sole Czech survivors in Europe this season, the other four having all been eliminated, including three in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.
Links and trivia
• Slavia’s squad includes two Romanian players, Alexandru Băluță and Nicolae Stanciu. Băluță’s clubs in his homeland included Chindia Târgoviște (2011–13), Viitorul Constanța (2013/14) and Universitatea Craiova (2014–18) while Stanciu represented Unirea (2008–11), Vaslui (2011–13) and FCSB (2013–16).
• Stanciu is a current Romania national team-mate of CFR Cluj trio Ciprian Deac, George Ţucudean and Ovidiu Hoban.
• Czech coach Dušan Uhrin Jr had spells as coach of both clubs, taking charge of CFR in 2009 and Slavia – where he had been youth coach between 1999 and 2001 – in 2015/16.